A majority of accidents are preventable. Human error is the most common reason for car accidents, with distracted driving being one of the major causes. Distracted driving is driving with your eyes off the road, not paying attention to your driving, or taking your hands off the wheel. Cell phone use and passengers are the two biggest distractions when driving. This may be why Philadelphia decided to pass laws that prevent the use of cellphones while driving.
Understanding the Ban
The ban outlaws the use of a cellphone while driving. It also forbids the same while riding a bicycle, a skateboard, in-line skates or scooters. The law mandates that first-time offenders pay a fine of $150, with repeat offenders paying twice that amount. This law was formulated after a study revealed that distracted driving causes more car accidents than drunk driving. Distracted drivers, according to the study, are 2.8 times more likely to cause an accident while using the phone while driving and 1.3 times more likely when talking on the phone.
The law took effect on 1 November 2009.
Staying within the Law
While it is quite common to look at a phone while driving, for example when using a navigation app, there are a few things that you can do to make sure this does not happen:
- Use an assistant – If you have to use a navigation app, get an assistant that gives directions using sound to avoid looking at the screen. Most phones come with good assistants that can do that for you.
- Use an inbuilt communication deice – If you must use your phone while driving, use the inbuilt communication device in your car. This could be a Bluetooth device that lets you connect your phone to the car so you don’t have to look at your phone if you get a call.
- Use a dictation app – If you have to text someone while driving, use a dictation app or feature on the phone. This will allow you to type using your voice.
Other Causes of Distracted Driving
Using a cell phone is not the only way drivers get distracted. Some other things that can distract a driver include:
- Eating, smoking or drinking
- Adjusting the radio or inserting a CD
- Interacting with passengers
- Looking for something in the car
- Reading or writing
What to Do in Case of an Accident
Every driver knows that they will get into an accident sometime. If you ever do, the most important thing is to not accept any liability. This includes apologizing to the other driver. Second, if you get arrested, you need to call an attorney. They will direct you on what to do in this instance. Third, hand over your insurance information when asked for it and comply with any instructions given by the police if they come to the scene.
Distracted driving is a huge problem now that our phones are always glued to our hands. If you do not want to get into an accident, try as best as you can to not use the phone while driving and minimize the number of distractions in the vehicle, such as interacting with the passengers.